Traveling with 3 kids

Old May 11, 20, 3:25 pm
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Traveling with 3 kids

Traveling alone with 3 kids - is it possible without growing extra arms or hiring someone to haul crap? I was supposed head to California (from Ohio) to visit friends next week. That trip is now postponed and given that I'm pregnant, it will be postponed until next year. When we go, I will still be going alone but now with 3 kids! Kids will be 6 months old, 2 years old (almost 3 years old) and 4 years old. All 3 will need carseats brought with us. Is it even possible to carry this much crap through an airport without losing several kids in the process? I was thinking of wearing the baby and putting the older 2 in the wagon I could then gate check. But what about 3 carseats? I only need 2 of them on the plane (baby, 2 year old) as I believe the 4 year old can sit in a regular with with a seatbelt. But I will need her carseat at the destination and I don't want to check in as I don't have the original box and I don't want to gate check it because of the risk of damage. Any ideas here? How is this feasible? Thanks!
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Old May 11, 20, 3:40 pm
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Ask your friend to visit you. Seriously.
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Old May 11, 20, 3:45 pm
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She has 3 kids as well. And she lives in California by the beach. I live in crummy Ohio.

We travel frequently as a family and enjoy travel. Just trying to figure out how to navigate this alone and now with 3 kids!
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Old May 11, 20, 3:56 pm
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I would take a friend or mom or hubby with me for 3 that young.

if not it would be baby wearing, two year old in a stroller. Attach two car seats to stroller. Check third car seat and gate check stroller.

Getting all your stuff from the baggage carousel is going to be very difficult alone. Watching 3 kids, 3 car seats and getting a suitcase or two will be almost impossible.

Is someone dropping you off, picking you up? Because that is a lot of stuff to get to a car rental agency.

I have travelled with two preschoolers alone, that was more than enough. Getting them to the toilet on the plane is a nightmare.
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Old May 11, 20, 3:58 pm
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I could ask my friend if her hubby could drop her off at baggage claim to help me! I need the rental car as we won't all fit in their car. Will they let me husband through TSA and back to the gate to help me with stuff if he doesn't have a ticket to fly?
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Old May 11, 20, 4:40 pm
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Then cancel the trip.

If you really want the trip, then find an adult going with you.
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Old May 11, 20, 4:57 pm
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Have you heard of Zoom?

There's no magical dust that keep it from being ridiculously difficult. We have 3 kids within 17 month (twins boys and girl 17 months older) and we just didn't travel much for years. They are now 10,10 and 11 and are a joy to travel with but for a while it was just crazy. For a little reference I took them by myself from mainland to Hawaii (mom was already there) when they were 5/5/6 and that was rough enough. Of course, at those ages I had no diapers, they could feed themselves and carry their own luggage. I couldn't even imagine doing it at the ages you have.
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Old May 11, 20, 7:21 pm
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Originally Posted by foreverlaur View Post
I could ask my friend if her hubby could drop her off at baggage claim to help me! I need the rental car as we won't all fit in their car. Will they let me husband through TSA and back to the gate to help me with stuff if he doesn't have a ticket to fly?

No, and how do you expect to carry a baby, a two year old and two car seats onto a plane, install carseats and get kids settled, by yourself? I just think this is impossible without a second adult. Can you go with just the baby, leave big kids home.

It sounds like the other end will be just as bad, then you still have to get home.

Trips like this are much better when car seats are a thing of the past, or at least when kids can sit on an airplane seat and carry their own backpacks. I travelled much less when our kids were tiny, mostly took one at a time when alone.
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Old May 12, 20, 7:54 am
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It’s possible and can be done even without hiring someone to haul stuff, but it requires planning and patience and preferably the most direct route possible while cutting the encumbrance of what you take along. The key thing is how will you schlep so much stuff when and where you need to do it and how you will control the children while doing so.

And as part of a training exercise for your trip, consider how you would do things in the following extreme situation: diverted to an alternative route involving a connection and getting stranded for two or more nights without a functioning stroller deliverable to you at the connection airport, your checked luggage missing in action and one child sick enough that the child can’t travel further and needs an IV for a couple of nights. This very kind of thing has happened. If you’re ready and able to deal with such an ordeal, then you have a chance to do this better than most.

Originally Posted by foreverlaur View Post
She has 3 kids as well. And she lives in California by the beach. I live in crummy Ohio.

We travel frequently as a family and enjoy travel. Just trying to figure out how to navigate this alone and now with 3 kids!
3 young kids of the mentioned ages and taking them and all of that stuff with you, including two car seats, onto a plane by yourself? It’s not going to reliably happen in any sort of leisurely way unless you manage to draft someone to help, get a volunteer to help during at least some of the processes involved, and pad in sufficient time for all that is invovled.

Unless you have some of the most compliant and clingy two-years-old and four-years-old children on the planet or get help along the way, this sounds like a difficult process from door to door with its own risks along the way.

If you happen to have a body-wearing baby carrier and a collapsible stroller which can carry the baby and one of the other two kids and possibly has an attached standing-board for the third child, then there are ways to do this.

Using CARES harnesses in-flight for the 2- and 4-years olds is what I would suggest as then you don’t have to deal with the car seats beyond check-in — if even then — until you need to use a car at your destination.

An infant in a car seat-stroller with an attached standing board to handle more than just the infant and a body-carrier that can fit the infant and the two-year-old (at your discretion) has worked before if you can get the 4-5 year old to walk easily. This could work even without a wheeled standing board, but then you’re at the mercy of the 4-5 year old’s willingness and ability to walk the involved distances.

The less you need to carry on board the flight or otherwise by yourself, the easier the logistics become to do this kind of trip.

Here is what my semi-durables equipment list for the children would be for such a situation:

1. Body-harness baby/toddler carrier (preferably one able to carry the two year-old too);

2. A collapsible stroller with an infant car seat attachment and an attachable/detachable wheeled standing board for the stroller;

3. Two CARES harnesses for in-flight use;

4. Boxed car seats for the two older children that can be checked-in at the check-in counter.

When having to carry more stuff than you can move by yourself at one time, it’s time to get help and/or be prepared to do the repeated shuffle back and forth to inch your way forward by moving some stuff ahead a bit at a time and repeating it until you get where you need to get to unload what you can. But this could be challenging if in a rush, impatient yourself or dealing with impatient child/children.
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Last edited by GUWonder; May 12, 20 at 3:24 pm
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Old May 13, 20, 10:16 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
When having to carry more stuff than you can move by yourself at one time...be prepared to do the repeated shuffle back and forth to inch your way forward by moving some stuff ahead a bit at a time and repeating it until you get where you need to get to unload what you can. But this could be challenging if in a rush, impatient yourself or dealing with impatient child/children.
As GUWonder has pointed out, allowing as much time as you possibly can to get through the airport is absolutely essential, and while car seats are always extremely important, CARES harnesses would be good option for your situation.

One other thing you might want to consider is getting a Trunki suitcase for the four year old (our neighbor’s kid has one and loves it). We’ve seen parents attach the strap from their kid’s Trunki suitcase to the frame of a stroller and then carefully push stroller. This might be a way for the four year old to keep up and still have fun, and it also provides some extra space to pack things. If you were to take stroller with an infant car seat attachment as GUWonder suggested, a Trunki suitcase could be an alternative to a wheeled standing board.

Another suggestion which might be helpful is to turn the journey into some sort of game/story which would help keep your older two kids interested in getting through the airport. We traveled with a stroller for our daughter for just over ten years (and her car seat for a few more) and we always tried to involve her as much we could in navigating the airport. She was much older then than your kids (she could read the terminal map, etc.), but something like a series of things they have to see/find in the right order, maybe with some simple questions for each thing, might structure the journey for them and introduce a different element of fun.

Obviously every kid is different, but we also found consistency really important for planning. Is there anything which you’ve done before which can be planned into the trip? Things like the kids each taking a favorite toy, getting an ice cream, watching the planes somewhere? If there is, you might want to think about emphasizing those things in your plan if at all possible. They can serve as positives for the kids to look forward to, and provide moments for you to “take a break” while trying to get through the terminal.
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Old May 13, 20, 10:45 pm
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When we had younger kids (3 total), we once ordered cheap car seats and had shipped to family at destination. They brought car seats to airport to pick us up and we installed in our rental. It was FAR cheaper than renting the car seats with rental and so much better than dealing with all the crap at airport. Maybe watch slickdeals.net for some deals.

For about 3-4 years, while the kids were still super young, we always jumped on trips to this same destination bc we had the car seats already there. In the end, we donated them.
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Old May 14, 20, 1:56 pm
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The ordering of 2 car seats to the destination makes a lot of sense if your friend can meet you at the rental car place.
The 4 yo is old enough to pull her own little suitcase and wear a small backpack. This small suitcase can have a change of clothes for everyone and a few other items. My 4 yo regularly pulled her own suitcase. No need for a Trunki.
The two yo can also walk with a small backpack.
Fill the two backpacks with toys/snacks/inflight entertainment for each child.

Then a car seat stroller for the infant, a cross-body diaper bag (I love diaper dudes messenger style one) and a small backpack for you. You put on the diaper bag first and then the backpack. Been there, done that.

Check bags - have someone help at drop-off. At arrival, if you can limit yourself to one large rollerbag, you'll be ok.

Fly direct if you can. If not, give yourself a longer than you think you need connection for snacks, potty time, diaper changes, meltdowns, etc. Expect to walk very slowly. Don't be afraid to bribe your kids for good behaviour.
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Old Jun 18, 20, 11:15 am
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Let your children choose between several activities instead of giving them no direction whatsoever. In a beach destination, for example, the options might be a half-day snorkeling trip or a fishing excursion. In an urban setting, share choices of interesting walking tours, and let them pick the one or two which appeal to them the most.
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Old Jun 22, 20, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by foreverlaur View Post
Traveling alone with 3 kids - is it possible without growing extra arms or hiring someone to haul crap? I was supposed head to California (from Ohio) to visit friends next week. That trip is now postponed and given that I'm pregnant, it will be postponed until next year. When we go, I will still be going alone but now with 3 kids! Kids will be 6 months old, 2 years old (almost 3 years old) and 4 years old. All 3 will need carseats brought with us. Is it even possible to carry this much crap through an airport without losing several kids in the process? I was thinking of wearing the baby and putting the older 2 in the wagon I could then gate check. But what about 3 carseats? I only need 2 of them on the plane (baby, 2 year old) as I believe the 4 year old can sit in a regular with with a seatbelt. But I will need her carseat at the destination and I don't want to check in as I don't have the original box and I don't want to gate check it because of the risk of damage. Any ideas here? How is this feasible? Thanks!
I have done so but prior to 9-11. Wore the baby and the other two in a tandem cart. Used an "airport" cart for the car seats. As a man, everybody took pitty on me and helped But Have Fun!!! It will be an experience you will fondly remember. But if really worried, Amex can arrange special help
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Old Jul 17, 20, 10:08 am
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Check out https://murgencyairportassistance.com/ - for a fee, they provide airport assistance in situations like yours.
Also, contact the airline you'll be flying with - they might be able to help as well.
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